Chicago White Sox Information
The team began as the Sioux City franchise in a minor league called the Western League. The WL had reorganized itself in November 1893, with Ban Johnson as President. Johnson, a Cincinnati-based reporter, had been recommended by his friend Charles Comiskey, former major league star with the St. Louis Browns in the 1880s, who was then managing the Cincinnati Reds. After the 1894 season, when Comiskey's contract with the Reds was up, he decided to take his chances at ownership. He bought the Sioux City team and transferred it to St. Paul, where it enjoyed some success over the next 5 seasons.
In 1900, the Western League changed its name to the American League. It was still officially a minor league, a part of the National Agreement and an underling of the National League. The NL actually gave permission to the AL to put a team in Chicago, and Comiskey moved his St. Paul club to Chicago's South Side. After the season, the AL declined to renew its membership in the National Agreement, and the war was on.
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The official evidence relating to participation in the 'fix' by the various accused players came to light late in the 1920 season. It began with an investigation into a fixed Cubs game that had become very public knowledge, and soon the 1919 Series events were on the table. Comiskey, who himself had turned a blind eye to the rumors previously, was compelled to suspend the remaining seven players (Gandil, eventually perceived as the ringleader, the one "connected" to the gamblers, had retired after the 1919 season). The suspensions ground the team to a halt; it was well on its way to another pennant (indeed, the 1920 White Sox pitching staff was the first in the majors to feature four 20-game winners).
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A number of people have taken up Shoeless Joe Jackson's cause (notably in the movie Field of Dreams), campaigning for reversal of his ban from baseball, and thus clearing the way for his Hall of Fame induction, which would be a reasonable possibility if it were to be allowed to be voted upon. They point to sketchy evidence that he had acted to throw the World Series; his performance prior to his ban, and the fact that he was, most likely, driven to agreeing to fix the World Series by the lack of respect accorded to him by Comiskey.
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The White Sox had been the league's dominant team at the time, but were severely crippled by losing seven of their best players in the middle of their prime. The team dropped into seventh place in 1921 and would not contend again until 1936. During that stretch, only the 1925 and 1926 teams even managed to top .500. During this period, the Sox featured stars such as third baseman Willie Kamm, shortstop Luke Appling and pitcher Ted Lyons. However, an outstanding team was never developed around them, or a deep pitching staff. Led from 1934 to 1946 by popular manager Jimmie Dykes, the White Sox didn't completely recover from their malaise until the team was rebuilt in the 1950s under managers Paul Richards, Marty Marion, and Al Lopez.
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It is interesting to note that since 1920, although the White Sox have won fewer pennants than the Chicago Cubs or the Boston Red Sox - whose fans can be considered among the most angst-riddled fans in all of sports - as well as being responsible for perhaps the biggest scandal in baseball history, the White Sox' fan base has largely shrugged off their relative lack of success over the years, blaming it more on inferior teams, poor management and bad luck rather than some other-worldly "curse". Even the players who conspired to fix the 1919 World Series seem not to have been reviled or held responsible for the White Sox' lack of success as much as certain Cubs and Red Sox icons have been. Rightly or wrongly, those Sox players have often been seen as victims, and Comiskey himself has often been seen as bearing a large part of the blame for what happened.
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After the pennant-clinching victory, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, a life-long White Sox fan, ordered his fire chief to set off the city's air raid sirens. Many Chicagoans became fearful and confused, since 1959 was the height of the Cold War; however, they relaxed somewhat upon realizing it was part of the White Sox' celebration. The Sox won Game 1 of the World Series 11-0 on the strength of Kluszewski's two home runs, their last postseason home win until 2005. The Los Angeles Dodgers, however, won four of the next five games and captured their first World Series championship since moving to the west coast.
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On December 10, 1975, Veeck regained ownership of the team, and vowed to make the Sox an exciting team again. But the 1976 team was one of the worst White Sox teams ever fielded, winning only 64 games (.398), drawing fewer than 915,000 fans, and ridiculed for wearing uniforms which featured shorts. Things were about to change, however, as the 1977 team gave 1,657,135 fans (at the time, an all-time Chicago baseball attendance record) much to cheer about. Veeck, unable to shell out money for huge, long-term contracts, adopted a "rent a player" strategy – trading for players in the last year of their contracts. The 1977 team featured new faces Richie Zisk, Oscar Gamble, and Eric Soderholm, and by the end of July, the team was 24 games over .500 and 5 1/2 games ahead of the Kansas City Royals. Team organist Nancy Faust riled the opponents with her version of "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" after White Sox home runs and opponent pitching changes; despite complaints by the opposition, Faust continues the tradition to this day.
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The World Series then shifted to Houston for Game 3, in which Astros' starter and NLCS MVP Roy Oswalt cruised with a 4-0 lead until the wheels totally came off for him with a five-run fifth by the White Sox. The Astros managed to tie the game in the eighth, but repeatedly blew scoring opportunities in the next few innings. Finally, in the top of the 14th, former Astro Geoff Blum hit a tie-breaking home run; the Sox took a commanding 3-0 Series lead with a 7-5 victory in the longest World Series game in history (in terms of time). In Game 4, a pitcher's battle between Freddy Garcia and Brandon Backe, Jermaine Dye broke a scoreless tie in the eighth by singling to center off of Brad Lidge, the embattled Astros closer who gave up the home run to Podsednik in Game 2, driving in Willie Harris for what turned out to be the winning run.
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Many Sox fans also attribute much of the current Cubs attendance advantage to long-standing animosity between Sox fans and the current team ownership, which has alienated the team's following with a long series of unpopular moves, beginning with the 1981 firing of beloved announcers Jimmy Piersall and Harry Caray for being too critical of the team; Caray was immediately hired by the Cubs, who embraced his personality rather than stifling it, and turned him into a national icon. While Cubs attendance in 1981 had fallen below 10,000 per game, in Caray's first season attendance per game almost doubled (even though the Cubs finished 16 games below .500), and in 1983 the team enjoyed the 7th-highest attendance in its history despite falling 20 games under .500; in 1984, the team drew 2 million fans for the first time, a mark it has failed to reach in only one full season since then. On the south side, in contrast, White Sox management's threats to move the team to Tampa Bay in the late 1980s, banishment of fan favorite Andy the Clown from the ballpark.